Newsdetails SADC

18.03.2010 00:00 Category: Recent News
by Kabwe Mulenga, BORDA Partner, WASAZA, Zambia

World Toilet Day in Macha Chiefdom-Choma - Sanitation Championship Award

Sanitation is a neglected issue but a crucial aspect of poverty and deprivation. World Toilet Day is held annually to draw attention to this vital part of life. Worldwide 2.5 billion people are without access to proper sanitation which endangers their health, strips their dignity and kills 1.8 million people, mostly children every year.

PICTURE 1:Chief Macha showing off his award to his subjects and delegates who had assembled in his chiefdom to celebrate World Toilet Day

Even the world’s wealthiest people still have toilet problems from unhygienic public toilets through to sewage disposal that destroys our waterways.

AMCOW AfricaSan Awareness, an organisation based in South Africa, has presented Chief Macha of Macha Chiefdom of Choma district in Zambia with a sanitation champion award for his work in establishing an Open Defecation Free community.

Celebrations started at 09:00 when the whole community of Macha Chiefdom and the delegates of the CLTS came together in the community hall.
Chief Macha welcomed everyone to his chiefdom and shared his experiences in South Africa when he received his award.  He also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the South African and Zambian governments and especially to the population of Macha for their cooperation.  In his midst were other leaders; Chief Kalunkumya of Mpongwe district, Chief Chipepo of Siavonga district, Induna Kalonga representing Chiefs from Kaoma district, area Member of Parliament for Mbabala, Emmanuel Hachipuka, ward councilors and the guest of honour the Mayor of Choma.  Chief Macha greeted these guests and urged them to take a leading role in becoming sanitation champions.

PICTURE 2: The assembled crowd in Macha Chiefdom on World Toilet Day  

The event was preceded by various sketches and dances from the community drama group demonstrating the importance  of an Open Defecation Free community and good sanitation.                                     
Chief Kalunkumya congratulated Chief Macha for the hard work and hoped to invite him one day to do the same in his chiefdom.  He urged parents to send their children to school for a better Zambia and he also thanked the community for their cooperation.  Chief Chipepo compared good sanitation with godliness as god does not dwell in a dirty place and he said that a toilet is a requirement by god.

PICTURE 3: The local drama group performing a sketch about good  sanitation practices

Induna Kalonga thanked UNICEF for linking traditional leaders to CLTS.  He described the developments that have taken place in his province after the training on CLTS and announced that the communities have moved from 4.7% to 55% ODF.  He also appealed to the government to embrace CLTS through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing so it is spread to all parts of the country. The deserving delegates were given certificates for their active involvement in CLTS and chief Macha was not left out for his remarkable leadership.
Sophie, the UNICEF Regional Representative, said UNICEF was greatly honoured to co-host this event with the government of the republic of Zambia.  UNICEF focuses on children's development so sanitation is a very important parameter for the betterment of children’s lives.  She explained how CLTS, ODF in chief Macha’s chiefdom and World Toilet Day could be celebrated on the same day.  She also described how the CLTS started.  Two years ago the event did not take place in Chief Macha’s Chiefdom but he attended ‘by accident’.  He was very enthusiastic about what he saw and began the work which has led to the success today with Macha being the first community in Choma, Zambia and in southern Africa to be recognized as an ODF community.  Sophie thanked the people of Macha for their cooperation.

The guest of honour, the mayor of Choma, said he hoped that all toilets were built from good sensitization.  He noted that having a toilet alone is not enough; it also has to be used properly.   He urged the community to take care of the toilets and monitor their surroundings to ensure the ODF status is maintained.

PICTURE 4: Deserving delegates getting certificates for their hard work in organizing and Advocating for CLTS

The Director of Works Siavonga District, Oscar Chilanga, thanked the delegates and the distinguished guests for making an effort to be there; “The award of leadership has brought us pride in Macha and Zambia as a whole.  Despite not having carried the World Cup we have carried the Sanitation Cup. If we can all step up and kick the ball like Macha, Zambia will be beautiful”.  He also informed those present that good sanitation has reduced diarrheal diseases in Macha.
At exactly 13:00hours Zambian time, the whole team was led outside to squat with a piece of tissue in everyone’s hands shouting the slogan “ONE FAMILY ONE TOILET”.  
The group proceeded to the community to see toilets that have been built and how they are being well-maintained.

PICTURE 5: Squatting at 13:00 hours Zambian time on World Toilet Day